Tag Archives: digital identity

Canada’s Community of Digital Identity Leaders Grows to Over 100 Members

Digital ID and Authentication Council of Canada (DIACC) welcomes the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security, City of Toronto, Deloitte, the Province of Quebec, and VISA as members.

Toronto, June 1, 2021 — Governments and businesses across Canada are embracing the opportunities presented by digital ID to deliver secure, trusted and privacy-enhancing digital services to enable Canadians to transact efficiently and securely online. As Canada’s community of public and private sector digital ID leaders, the DIACC is pleased to welcome the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security, City of Toronto, Deloitte, the Province of Quebec, and VISA as members. 

“Today, more than ever before, our communities, our businesses, and our citizens are looking to the leaders within the DIACC to help deliver a robust, secure, trusted digital ID ecosystem that works for all Canadians. Our economy depends on it,” stated David Nikolejsin, Chair of the DIACC Board.

“We are thrilled to welcome this new cohort of public and private sector members to the DIACC,” said Joni Brennan, DIACC President. “With over 100 members including the government of Canada, provincial governments, municipal governments, financial institutions, telcos, technology companies, consulting companies, SMEs, academic partners, international organizations, and nonprofits, the DIACC is Canada’s largest and most inclusive community of digital ID leaders.”

“When the DIACC began nearly a decade ago, it was a small group of passionate public and private sector organizations committed to unlocking economic opportunities for Canadian consumers and businesses while protecting and promoting Canadian values and perspectives in the digital economy,” said Eros Spadotto, EVP, Telus. 

“Building on the vision of the founding members, the non-profit DIACC coalition has grown to over 100 private and public sector leaders who are working together towards establishing an interoperable ecosystem that Canadians can use with confidence,” added Robert Devries, Assistant Deputy Minister Platforms, Ontario Digital Service.

In 2020 the DIACC  delivered on that vision with the launch of the Pan-Canadian Trust Framework™, a robust, privacy-enhancing trust framework shaped by Canadian values that permits trusted digital identity and provides clear guidelines on digital interoperability. 

Recent research by the DIACC underlines Canadians’ desire for, and expectation of secure, trusted and convenient digital transactions – a desire that has increased as a result of the pandemic. 

“From receiving emergency pandemic benefits to ensuring health records are correct and helping children and youth with online education, there are many ways in which a secure digital ID is essential to the functioning of daily life during a pandemic – and beyond,” added CJ Ritchie, CIO of the Government of British Columbia. 

According to the DIACC research, the majority of Canadians believe it is important for federal and provincial governments to move quickly on enabling digital ID in a safe and secure manner, according to the survey. It also shows that collaboration between governments and the private sector continues to be considered the best approach to create a pan-Canadian digital ID framework. 

With the addition of these new members and increasing demand from Canadians, it is clear that there is no better time for governments and businesses to invest in making digital ID a national public policy priority.

ABOUT THE DIACC

The DIACC is a non-profit coalition of public and private sector leaders committed to developing a Canadian digital identification and authentication framework to enable Canada’s full and secure participation in the global digital economy. The DIACC was created as a result of the federal government’s Task Force for the Payments System Review and members include representatives from both the federal and provincial levels of government as well as private sector leaders.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Krista Pawley 

Krista@ImperativeImpact.com

416-270-9987

Equitable digital identity access as the key to unlocking sustainable development

Owning and accessing an official proof of identity remains a challenge for over 1 billion people in the world. This lack of documented identity disproportionately affects marginalized groups like women and ethnic minorities, especially in developing nations where barriers exist to the issuing of basic credentials like birth certificates or national identity documents. Without a functional identity, marginalized communities remain unable to take advantage of key financial, educational, and political resources the digital world can provide. This disparity is a primary focus for the global community. The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals even enumerated Goal 16.9 with a specific target: By 2030, providing legal identity for all, including birth registration. If even basic analog identifiers are out of the reach of people across the globe, then digital identity proves nearly impossible for them to obtain. Though Canada remains a leader in digital identity, challenges remain with complete integration of marginalized communities into their developed digital identity ecosystems. This post stands to outline the global problem, and provide insight into a global solution framework which could possibly be applied to the Canadian context. 

A gender divide in digital access has been prevalent for decades, and has widened over the past years between developed and developing countries. Roughly 330 million fewer women than men have access to a smartphone and the mobile internet. They are 26% less likely to own a mobile device, and in South Asia and Africa those proportions stand at 70% and 34% respectively. Without access to the mobile internet and the ability to affirm their digital identity, people are left unable to utilize key resources that could help sustain them and their families. These resources could include access to financial accounts, employment opportunities, microfinance applications, digital platforms to create independent income, public health and healthcare initiatives, and the breadth of the Internet as a place to gain knowledge and skills. With ready access to these digital platforms, marginalized communities can find financial stability and health resources that will improve their quality of life. 

Economic development organizations such as the World Bank are developing strategies to introduce Digital ID frameworks to its member countries. The World Bank’s Identity for Development (ID4D) Diagnostics provides a possible methodology to identify ways to improve identity management systems around the world. Inclusion is a key priority for ID4D, with a focus on systems with high levels of coverage and access. The universality of coverage is defined in both longitudinal and latitudinal terms. Longitudinal coverage spans the lifetime of an individual, while latitudinal coverage refers to the breadth of society the system covers. Accessibility requires the removal of barriers to usage and disparities in the availability of information and technology. ID4D stresses the importance of “inclusion by design”, tasking system builders to communicate with marginalized communities to see where legal, social, and economic gaps may exist to avoid further exacerbating them. According to ID4D, these identity systems should also possess a high level of interoperability. Interoperable systems are more efficient, both in time and money, and allow for integration across multiple platforms. It also suggests using open standards, rather than proprietary technology, which foster innovation in the system and encourage technological advances to be made.

Does the way that ID4D is applied in developing nations provide any lessons for how a developed country can better serve its marginalized communities? Do other solution frameworks exist to map a developed digital identity ecosystem for gaps in coverage and access? By asking these questions, we begin a conversation that will result in improving identity access for all. When connected to a digital identity, marginalized communities are able to take advantage of a wealth of resources that can improve their financial, social, and political standing. In turn, this supports sustainable growth in their home country and contributes to a system where all can benefit. 


About the Author:

Kyra John is a technology coordinator in the wireless industry and passionate about diversity, inclusion, and global citizenship. She has always been drawn to complex problems, and is excited to work as a Community Volunteer with DIACC to delve deeper into topics relating to technology and equity. She has a degree in international affairs and conflict resolution from The George Washington University and enjoys music, reading, and alpine hiking in her free time.

Sources:

  1. http://www.oecd.org/digital/bridging-the-digital-gender-divide.pdf
  2. http://documents1.worldbank.org/curated/en/370121518449921710/Guidelines-for-ID4D-Diagnostics.pdf
  3. Goal 16 | Department of Economic and Social Affairs
  4. https://www.gsma.com/mobilefordevelopment/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Exploring-the-Gender-Gap-in-Identification-Policy-Insights-from-10-Countries-Web.pdf
  5. How Women Are Using Technology to Advance Gender Equality and Peace
  6. Digital identity is coming of age in Canada in 2020 | IT World Canada News
  7. Most Canadians want digital identity for online government services, DIACC plans its role | Biometric Update

DIACC Women in Identity: Azadeh Dindayal

DIACC is hosting a series of spotlights showcasing our amazing female DIACC members in the digital identity space, noting the importance of diversity. These spotlights will be regularly socialized through DIACC’s LinkedIn and Twitter channels as well as our monthly member newsletters.

If you’re a DIACC member and would like us to feature your spotlight, contact us today to learn more!

DIACC is hosting a series of spotlights showcasing our amazing female DIACC members in the digital identity space, noting the importance of diversity. These spotlights will be regularly socialized through DIACC’s LinkedIn and Twitter channels as well as our monthly member newsletters.

If you’re a DIACC member and would like us to feature your spotlight, contact us today to learn more!

What has your career journey looked like?

I’ve had an incredible journey working and meeting individuals who are passionate about transformation, digital experiences and pushing the boundaries of what has been possible.

When you were 20 years old, what was your dream job and why?

I don’t think I ever wanted to confine myself to one dream job. It was about what I could learn and the people I would interact with that mattered most.


As a female leader, what has been the most significant barrier in your career?

Overworking. I worked hard, very long hours, and many late nights. It caused me to burn out and not focus on the things that mattered. I now make a continuous effort to keep a balance.

How do you balance work and life responsibilities?

Taking time out for my health and stress relief on a regular basis is key to how I manage and balance my life and work now.

How can more women be encouraged to pursue careers in the digital ID/tech space?

I think meeting other women in the industry is a good start. A mentorship program would be even better. I wish I had that when I was starting out my career.

What are some strategies you have learned to help women achieve a more prominent role in their organizations?

Internal sponsorship of women by other leaders is very important. We need to learn to humbly ask for that sponsorship and genuinely put in the time and effort to achieve the goals we set for ourselves.

What will be the biggest challenge for the generation of women behind you?

There’s many. But I believe the greatest challenge will continue to be managing family and work for some time until this issue is systematically addressed by our public & private sector. Childcare is not considered a right in Ontario. Stop the stigma of motherhood. Companies need to offer men and women both a fair and balanced chance. Being a parent is not a disability.

What advice would you give to young women entering the field?

Don’t set limits for yourself. Don’t be shy to ask why. Make friends everywhere.


Azadeh Dindayal is the Vice President of Marketing at Identos.

Follow Azadeh on Twitter and LinkedIn


DIACC welcomes Budget 2021 investments for digital transformation and innovation

Canada’s trusted digital ID leader, the DIACC, welcomes Budget 2021 investments for digital transformation and Canadian innovation

TORONTO, APRIL 19, 2021 — Joni Brennan, President of the Digital Identification and Authentication Council of Canada (DIACC) released a statement following the tabling of the federal budget today:

If the global pandemic has shown us anything, it’s that the need for reliable and secure data is paramount as businesses, governments and Canadians from Vancouver to Quebec City to Charlottetown and everywhere in between move online. 

From receiving emergency pandemic benefits to ensuring health records are correct and helping children and youth with online education, the pandemic has put a renewed spotlight on the need for governments to move with urgency to invest in digital infrastructure. In fact, it’s critical to ensuring Canadians receive the services they need and that businesses can participate fully and securely in the global digital economy.

At the core of this infrastructure is a secure digital identity which is essential to the function of daily life during a pandemic. 

The DIACC, Canada’s digital ID leader, is pleased to see the federal government’s recognition that our economic future depends on digital investments. Initiatives like the investment in the Known Traveller Digital Identity pilot project and the Canada Digital Adoption Program will help Canadians, businesses and governments on this path. 

However, at the core of a safe and secure digital environment is a safe and secure digital ID. Given the federal government’s priorities around a Digital Charter, the government lost an opportunity to highlight the important need for investments in digital ID. Investing in digital ID makes economic sense, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). For SMEs, the impact of digital identity could be used to improve processes that are difficult today, resulting in a potential $4.5 billion of added value to SMEs and reinvestments in the Canadian economy.

Our digital future rests on getting digital ID right. We look forward to working with governments to meaningfully adopt a digital ID ecosystem, especially as we look toward post-pandemic economic recovery.

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About Digital ID and Authentication Council of Canada (DIACC)

The Digital Identification and Authentication Council of Canada was created following the federal government’s Task Force for the Payments System Review to bring together public and private sector partners in developing a safe and secure digital ID ecosystem. The DIACC has 100 high profile members spanning several sectors from financial institutions, networks for payments and for identity verification, technology service providers, strategy and integration experts and federal and provincial governments. For 10 years the DIACC has built up this important sector as the trusted voice for driving the development of standards and a trust framework that will secure a fully digital Canada. With established global partnerships that will help Canada lead efforts in international digital interoperability and accreditation, the DIACC provides a world-leading forum to foster collaboration for developing and recommending harmonizing policies, standards, and regulatory changes with international benchmarks — innovative solutions to navigate the digital future.

For more information
Krista Pawley
krista@imperativeimpact.com 
416 270 9987

DIACC Women in Identity: Cosanna Preston-Idedia

DIACC is hosting a series of spotlights showcasing our amazing female DIACC members in the digital identity space, noting the importance of diversity. These spotlights will be regularly socialized through DIACC’s LinkedIn and Twitter channels as well as our monthly member newsletters.

If you’re a DIACC member and would like us to feature your spotlight, contact us today to learn more!

What has your career journey looked like?

My journey has been far from a straight line. I have a BA in political science from the University of Alberta and a masters in African Studies from the University of Oxford. Since finishing my education, I’ve worked in multiple sectors and countries. I started in student journalism, shifted to the non-profit start-up space working on community development with a social justice lens and dabbled in academia for a bit. Eventually, I settled into public relations in Nigeria for 4+ years. Upon moving back to Canada, I spent time in customer experience strategy for a power utility before joining the Saskatchewan government, first as the director for digital citizen services and now for digital ID.

When you were 20 years old, what was your dream job and why?

I’ve never quite had a dream job but I always knew I wanted to make a positive impact in people’s lives and somehow do my part in making the world a better place. That’s why I am so drawn to the public sector.


As a female leader, what has been the most significant barrier in your career?

I’m extremely fortunate to say that I’ve had very few challenges on account of my gender identity. That said, I’ve grown up in professional environments where the gender balance is more prevalent. I have heard enough horrendous stories from other female leaders to know that my experience is not the norm. My barriers have more come from age, especially in my earlier years of leadership. As a young leader people consistently assumed I knew less and could do less. We often undervalue our youth as a society and this is something I consistently remind myself of as I work with the next generation of youth.

How do you balance work and life responsibilities?

Work life balance is sacred to me, as is my respect for deadlines, and those two things can often come into conflict. My general rules for myself and my teams:

  • Work to outcomes. Be clear on your deliverables and get the job done. But in doing so, set boundaries and prioritize.
  • Ask for help in doing this if you need it. We only have 8 hours in a day and weekends and evenings should be exceptions, not the expectation.
  • Take your holidays! Payouts and carrying over should be exceptions not the norm.

How can more women be encouraged to pursue careers in the digital ID/tech space?

Tech doesn’t have to be intimidating (look at my background!) and tech also doesn’t have to mean being a developer. But I do believe that, love it or hate it, tech will continue to grow ever more central to our society. Dig into your passion and spend the time to understand how technology is impacting, shaping and changing that space. If the actual technical details aren’t for you, look to the concepts, outcomes, and impacts that technology has to offer and dig in there.

What are some strategies you have learned to help women achieve a more prominent role in their organizations?

Lift people up. Lift people up. Lift people up.

This goes for all voices that need more prominence in our organizations, not just women. Take the time on projects, in meetings etc., to give space to those who may not naturally take it themselves. This can come in many forms:

  • End meetings with a round table.
  • Work with a teammate or colleague to help them find professional outlets to develop their passion.
  • Be a mentor and a coach.
  • Offer public praise and private – and always constructive feedback.
  • If you have a hand in assigning resources, prioritize diversity. Diverse perspectives always benefit an organization and provides opportunities to lift people up.

What will be the biggest challenge for the generation of women behind you?

Women are a very diverse group and our challenges are not homogenous. For those like me, who have faced very little discrimination on account of their gender identity, the challenge will continue to be to recognize and use that privilege to widen the conversation and create space, not just for other women but for all those along the gender spectrum. We cannot become complacent that equality for some women is equal to equality for all.

What advice would you give to young women entering the field?

Find your passion. Hone your strengths. Dig into the details, stay outcomes focused and curious, and always, always stay open to feedback.

Cosanna Preston-Idedia is the Director of Digital Identity at the Government of Saskatchewan

Follow Cosanna on Twitter at @cosanna and LinkedIn

DIACC Women in Identity: Malini Srinivasan

DIACC is hosting a series of spotlights showcasing our amazing female DIACC members in the digital identity space, noting the importance of diversity. These spotlights will be regularly socialized through DIACC’s LinkedIn and Twitter channels as well as our monthly member newsletters.

If you’re a DIACC member and would like us to feature your spotlight, contact us today to learn more!

What has your career journey looked like?

During my 15 year of career, I’ve had opportunities to work for leading firms including Wall Street institutions. My career is shaped by experiences with Aon/Hewitt, Wachovia/Wells Fargo, Fannie Mae, Bank of Tokyo, and Brown Brothers Harriman. I’ve played different roles including Software Engineering, Business Analysis, and Product Owner. Following my passion towards entrepreneurship, bootstrapped blockchain startup vlinder a couple of years ago. It’s been an exciting journey – startup life has given me exponential learning.

When you were 20 years old, what was your dream job and why?

Technology was gaining significant prominence back then and I wanted to perform a high-tech job (in Silicon Valley) leading to a CIO type role.

As a female leader, what has been the most significant barrier in your career?

Honestly, I have been lucky not to face any significant barrier through my carrier. Personally, I believe such barriers are in the mind.

How do you balance work and life responsibilities?

The key is to set family time aside and not think about work during that time. In this connected world, sometimes it is hard to decouple work (e.g. looking at emails, chat channels, linkedIn from smart phone). However, with discipline and drawing the line, balance can be achieved.

How can more women be encouraged to pursue careers in the digital ID/tech space?

Tech cannot be painted blue or pink. Tech is for the entire population, pick your leader, inspiration, and follow them. If I have to stress a particular point, taking cue from the previous question, good work/life balance can be achieved in Digital ID/Tech space (given that most of the work can be performed remotely).

What are some strategies you have learned to help women achieve a more prominent role in their organizations?

Sometimes unconscious bias may exist – it’s important to think objectively and not about why a subset of the population cannot go up the ladder. It’s also important not to pay attention to historical metrics or even how many women are in executive positions in a given organization which is not a reflection of the future that can be achieved.

What will be the biggest challenge for the generation of women behind you?

I would rather focus on the opportunity ahead of us – enterprises and the world now focus on equality and even have goals on the number of women leaders on the board. Some early indicators linking profitability and number of women leaders on the board are published.

What advice would you give to young women entering the field?

Pursue the dream, strive for excellence, and success will follow.

Malini Srinivasan is the Founder of Vlinder.

DIACC White Paper: Consumer Digital Identity Leveraging Blockchain

The Commission on Enhancing National Cyber Security report from December 1st, 2016 emphasized the importance of securing and growing the digital economy. In line with the recommendations from this document, and in compliance with the Digital ID & Authentication Council of Canada’s (DIACC) 10 Canadian Principles of a Digital Identity Ecosystem, SecureKey Technologies entered into a multiphase program with DIACC and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) to evaluate, develop, and deliver a solution for enabling distributed privacy enhanced identity ecosystems.

This paper summarizes the work done as part of Phase 3 of the program, concentrating on the “Commercialization of the Verified.Me project,” and building upon the recommendations from the Applied Research completed in Phase 2 which are further described in this white paper.

Download the paper.

DIACC-White-Paper_Consumer-Digital-Identity-Leveraging-Blockchain_Final

DIACC Women in Identity: Sophie Leroux

DIACC is hosting a series of spotlights showcasing our amazing female DIACC members in the digital identity space, noting the importance of diversity. These spotlights will be regularly socialized through DIACC’s LinkedIn and Twitter channels as well as our monthly member newsletters.

If you’re a DIACC member and would like us to feature your spotlight, contact us today to learn more!

What has your career journey looked like?

From traditional marketing to full on business digital transformation.

When you were 20 years old, what was your dream job and why?

Be a news reporter; now I get to change the world from the business perspective.

As a female leader, what has been the most significant barrier in your career?

The lack of openness to a different management style.

How do you balance work and life responsibilities?

As best as I can! By putting me first.

How can more women be encouraged to pursue careers in the digital ID/tech space?

By understanding that digital IS business and that it requires all types of profile.

What are some strategies you have learned to help women achieve a more prominent role in their organizations?

Enabling ideas, nurturing respect, promoting success.

What will be the biggest challenge for the generation of women behind you?

Widen your playing field. This is all about juggling ambiguity.

Sophie Leroux is the Solutions Manager at Desjardins.

Facial Biometrics – Voluntary vs. Involuntary

Contributions made by members of the DIACC’s Outreach Expert Committee

One of the nicest things about this pandemic is wearing our sweatpants all day, every day, while working. Right? Wouldn’t it be nice to wear sweatpants to the office, when this is all over? Sure, but that’s unlikely, at least if we want to keep our jobs. So, we choose to forgo our private sweatpants rights, to keep our more public jobs. Privacy and how we protect it has never been more important in our daily lives. Yet, a balance is necessary, between privacy and security, in our ever increasingly digital lives. With that, there is a rather public debate about privacy and the ethical use of biometrics. In particular, face biometrics can be misunderstood and feared with respect to our Right to Privacy. This article is an attempt to create a better understanding of it and, hopefully, reduce fear of such a promising and effective technology.  

Our use of biometrics enables our safety. At its most basic level, a biometric is a physiological trait or attribute that is unique to an individual person. When we recognize the faces of our loved ones, friends, and colleagues with our own eyes, we are using biometrics to help us build relationships and trust. Biometrics are, in a way, fundamental to human interaction and society. Today, biometrics can be used in person or automated, to increase convenience and security in various situations. 

There are many types of biometrics that we use daily. Face images are, by far, the most common. Any time somebody requests to see our driver’s license, passport, or ID badge, we are using biometrics. Most governments include face biometrics, in the form of a photograph, in their driver’s license, passport, or other national ID databases, as well as on the credential, itself. We use face biometrics, attached to a credential, to establish trust, when we access privileges, like driving a car, government services, commercial air travel and even buying liquor.   

Today there is some confusion and fear about biometrics, what they are, and what they can actually do. There are only two basic functions that a biometric can perform, Identification and Authentication. When we first meet somebody, we may associate their name with their face. When we see that face we can identify that person by accessing the information in our mind. “Hi, I’m Jennifer” associates a name to face and allows us to identify them. When we arrive at a restaurant, we might scan customers to see if we recognize any of them. We identify Jennifer by recognizing their face in the crowd of people. In another instance, we can authenticate Jennifer by recalling information about them when presented with their face. If Jennifer were to knock on our front door, we can authenticate them with our own simple sight. Fundamentally these are the only two functions of a biometric. A properly designed face biometric system should include high confidence liveness checks, to differentiate between a real human face and a photo (for example) and face matching, in order to prove that a person is in fact who they claim to be. Stay tuned for our next blog where we’ll talk about liveness checks, anti-spoofing, and other methods to prevent various types of fraud.

In this age of information hyperbole, perhaps it’s understandable that there is some public misunderstanding of how these important technologies can and should be used. Big Brother surveillance and Privacy are central to debates about the ethical use of face biometrics. However, when examined thoroughly, we find that most, if not all of the ethical debate centers on how the biometrics are used and, more specifically, whether the biometric is used Voluntarily or Involuntarily.  

We tend to prefer freedom of choice, with our personal privacy. Sometimes we guard it. Other times, we agree to forgo some privacy, to access and enjoy many privileges of our society. For example, when applying for a credit card loan, the bank logically prefers to understand whether or not we are likely to repay the loan. To control its fraud and compliance risk, it requires knowing who it’s lending to and whether we are an existing customer, or potential fraudster, posing as a customer. So, we volunteer to divulge our private identities and backgrounds. We also allow the bank to compare our identity to those of existing customers, to learn if we are an existing customer or a fraudulent account holder at the bank. The bank Identifies us as a new customer (or not), as well as a legitimate customer (or not). It’s our choice to participate in this identification process, or not. It’s voluntary. If we agree, once we are approved, the bank requires us to Authenticate ourselves, every time we try to access the valuable privilege. In this case, we voluntarily relinquish our privacy Right, to get something of value in return. Moreover, the process includes both Identification and Authentication in a safe, productive and ethical way.  

However, in some cases, the privilege we want to enjoy is so valuable (granting it is so risky) that the service provider may be tempted to invade our privacy, without our consent, to protect it. Of course, there are some bad people out there. The problem is that we can’t tell who is good and who is bad, unless we specifically identify them all. To this end, law enforcement may wish to investigate and identify everyone within a certain group, like those walking down the street. The City of London, England, for example, installed CCTV cameras on most city street corners, to survey walkers-by for criminal activity. Moreover, the CCTV system was equipped with biometric facial recognition technology, to learn if any passers-by were in the criminal mugshot database. The City used Involuntary face recognition surveillance to Identify anyone in the field of view. Innocent passers-by had no choice but to submit to such a surveillance investigation and many view this as a clear violation of privacy.  

Similar to any tool, there is nothing inherently ethical or unethical about face biometrics, however these tools must be used responsibly. In a voluntary scenario, both Identification and Authentication can be important functions when used to protect our privacy and enable privileges that could not be offered without the presence of a human authentication method. This can help break down barriers to accessing government services or performing international business (by using authentication to reduce instances of fraud) or even protecting your own assets by granting access to your files via authentication of your unique profile. However in an involuntary scenario, potentially unethical scenarios exist that require deep conversations and eventually regulation about the balance between safety and privacy.

Understanding the difference between Voluntary and Involuntary facial recognition is a foundational issue that is helping us set the boundaries for the ethical use of biometrics by both governments and businesses. How that data is stored and used are all tied into this same problem. While there is nothing inherently ethical nor unethical about face biometrics, understanding and regulating its acceptable use is an important step to building public confidence in this trust enabling tool.

Care to learn more about this topic? Be sure to read our last release Exploring Facial Biometrics. What is it?

DIACC Women in Identity: Shelley Bryen

DIACC is hosting a series of spotlights showcasing our amazing female DIACC members in the digital identity space, noting the importance of diversity. These spotlights will be regularly socialized through DIACC’s LinkedIn and Twitter channels as well as our monthly member newsletters.

If you’re a DIACC member and would like us to feature your spotlight, contact us today to learn more!

How long have you worked in your sector, and in your current position? 

I have been in the tech industry for over 25 years in a variety of companies providing every type of software solution from graphic signage design tools, to Operating Systems, to 3D instrumentation clusters for avionics, to remote identity and document verification.  I joined WorldReach Software, in the role of Director of Marketing, 11 years ago. I’ve loved every minute of it!

WorldReach, for those who have never heard of us, uses innovative processes and technology to verify you are who you say you are. We enable highly trusted digital services through our systems for government (borders, immigration, passport and consular) for digital on-boarding, safe and seamless travel, and digital Identity verification and corroboration.

We are probably best known for the core digital channel solution behind the UK Home Office’s EU Settlement Scheme. This smartphone based digital ID Verification (IDV) and enrolment capability has become the world’s most successful immigration programme of its kind with over 5 million completed applications to date!

What has your career journey looked like? Have you always worked in the private sector? 

My career path has been so varied my general joke is “You can’t get here from there”. My educational background is in Fine Art. In fact, I have a painting in the Parliament Buildings. The short answer (which is not actually that short) is Fine Art led to Freelance Illustration, which led to Graphic Design, which led to Marketing Management in a software company. This opened me up to a much more technical path – first to Strategic Alliance Management for the Embedded OS market, then to Industry Segment Management, then to Product Management, then finally back to what I would term “Technical Marketing”.

I have always worked in the private sector, however for more than the last decade, I have been working exclusively in B2G. This has meant that one of my primary goals today is to understand all the challenges, wants, needs and technical requirements of the public sector. WorldReach clients are Governments from all over the world: Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Immigration and Border Agencies, but also any department with a citizen service role. Therefore, I spend the majority of my time researching Government digital service delivery program requirements worldwide.

When you were twenty years old, what was your dream job, and why? 

Given my artistic DNA, it likely will not be that surprising to hear that my dream job would have been to be a conservator in a prominent museum – someone who spends all their days cleaning, repairing, protecting and conserving incredible works of art. That would have been the perfect combination of my love of art, art history and my annoyingly anal-retentive detail-oriented skillset. Either that or I would have loved life as a professional soccer player! Even in my early twenties, I did not envision a long career in technology.

As a female leader, what has been the most significant barrier in your career?

Externally – being taken seriously. As a woman in the male-dominated tech field over the last quarter of a century, one often hears this. For me personally, also being an openly gay woman adds an additional nuance to climbing the corporate ladder.  I have unfortunately experienced homophobia from co-workers and management a few times in a few companies in the past, but I am happy to report that that appears to be in the rear view mirror for me. Still, it is a reminder of why we all need legal protections against discrimination in the work place and employment strategies focussed on diversity and inclusion.

Internally – overcoming the nagging doubt that you do not “belong in the room where it happens”.  No matter how much experience you have in a certain industry, women tend towards the infamous “imposter syndrome”. Once you push that aside – and maybe that just comes with growing older and wiser – it really does become far less of a barrier. Belief in oneself goes along way to harnessing your own potential.

How do you balance work and life responsibilities?

Early in my career, I had to step away and become the main support for my incredibly ill child. As a mother, of course, that’s would you do, and what you want to do – there was no question. However, it also helps put things into perspective. There are always things in ones’ life that are more important than work. My son is now 33 years old and cancer-free, thankfully.

In the fast moving, highly competitive tech world, one’s work life can easily take over every waking hour – especially now, during COVID, when many of us are working from home. The boundaries can get very fuzzy. Nevertheless, it is still incredibly important to ensure you understand the crucial role of self-care. If you are exhausted, if you work around the clock, every aspect of your life will suffer – and that includes work.

I personally need physical activity. A long walk with my wife, friends and loved ones, working out in my basement gym, playing with my dogs – it all helps this balance ‘dance’.

How can more women be encouraged to pursue careers in the tech space? 

Women can do anything, but sometimes we need permission to dream big. I think the media can play a big role in this as well. Girls and women need to see people just like themselves succeeding. They need to hear the ups and downs of real-world tech careers. They need to think, “If she can do it, maybe I can too!” Let’s just celebrate all the incredible women in tech much more often!

I also think more needs to be done in our educational system. More female guest speakers to come into classes (virtually or physically) and share their journeys, especially in STEM. Perhaps more mentor initiatives. I know I would have loved to participate in anything that showcased successful women particularly in traditionally male-dominated jobs. To show how fascinating and rewarding delving into technology can really be. To imagine yourself having an effect on the systems that are being built now and in the future. To take pride in creating, in innovating. It took me far too long to discover this on my own.

What are some strategies you have learned to help women achieve a more prominent role in their organizations?

Do not be afraid to take up space. Do your homework and use your voice confidently. Be respectful and open, but do not apologize for everything.

A very good friend of mine gave me some great advice when I was in middle Management struggling to climb. She reminded me “perception is reality”. In the corporate world, you can be a wonderful capable worker, quite talented, but if the people in charge do not see it or know it, you will remain in the very same place but just with an ever-increasing workload. So – Volunteer for projects that will “stretch you”, that will require you to grow and learn, that will be seen. Be helpful and kind to all your colleagues, contacts and teammates. Go out of your way to lessen their workload, to be a person of value. Soon, it will be others that will be singing your praises – you will not have to!

If Senior Management do not value you in title, responsibilities and compensation, do not be afraid to leave and find it elsewhere. Have confidence in your own value.

What will be the biggest challenge for the generation of women behind you?

As the next generation of women begin to earn their way into more and more powerful positions, it will be easy to forget how hard the fight has historically been for the generation before them. Look back and learn. Look to the other successful women in the industry. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel.

One of the biggest challenges these women will face is to recognize when their own drive and competitiveness becomes destructive. You cannot sustain being a “superwoman”. We are all human…and this where work/live balance is so important.

What advice would you give to young women entering the field?

Use your own natural talents to the best of your abilities; apply it to your passion and cultivated it. Whether that is being detail-oriented, analytical, a problem solver, purely creative, a team player or combinations of all of them. Know there is value in it all.

There is a misconception that there is only one type of person in STEM. An engineer, a scientist, a developer, a mathematician – only a linear thinker. Women often bring a different perspective, a different way of thinking and solving problems. A creativity. This variation, this diversity of thought is a necessity to produce the best most inclusive results – and the most interesting people!

Shelley Bryen is the Director of Marketing at WorldReach Software

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